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Product Detail is King

Posted on Aug 6th, 2007 by Everyone
282 comments

Just this week, we’ll be presenting the same usability finding that has come out of three separate studies. We’ve been calling the finding “Product Detail is King.”

Crown!It may sound obvious, but when users are looking at products online — whether it’s software, healthcare, or crockpots – detailed information about the products is of utmost importance. And a user’s success in finding that fine level of detail can truly make or break whether they have a positive experience on the site.

What’s tough is, we’ll be delivering this finding to teams where there are impassioned internal movements to tell compelling marketing stories. They’d like their users to have positive impressions of their brand, their product line, their company. Marketing teams often try to do so with compelling case studies, company news, and press releases on the website and are eager to hear how voraciously users are consuming them.

But what we’re finding is that this type of material is widely passed over. Users dismiss it as fluff and figure that anything the company is reporting about itself will be self-congratulatory. More importantly, it’s not what they’ve come to the site for, and it’s getting harder and harder to get users to casually surf through information that’s not in the crosshairs of their target. It’s just not what they’re looking for in that moment. What they want are hard facts and product specs. “When will the policy begin.” “Does this tea kettle turn off by itself.” “Does it come in size XXL?”

If the goal is to provide a positive user experience, there’s just no competing with giving users abundant product information. When they have a positive functional experience of finding this level of detail, the result is a positive experience with the brand. No amount of well-written marcom can communicate it more strongly.

This is not to say that retailers should not display any information that could possibly be read as fluff. It’s just that it’s almost always more important to tackle the daunting task of making sure product details are beefed up. This goes for all products – even the obscure ones that aren’t yet flying off the shelves.

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